Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hello, it's us (we've been wondering if after all this time you'd like to read about our house still).

Hey guys, just wanted to say that we're still here and we still talk about the blog and you guys and working on the house and hopefully someday soon I'll post some "real" content again. We keep bumping into old friends who want to know what we've been up to on the house and since I've officially left my day job (hooray!) to work on Lamphouse full-time, I might have a few minutes here and there to do some actual work on the ol' girl. It is her 99th year after all, so she deserves a little extra care and maybe, just maybe, some paint. No promises, though ; ) 

In the mean time, here's a round up of what we've been up to in the year and some months since I posted last: 

For my birthday last April, my folks agreed to work on building a little "patio" for our backyard. Call me crazy but I do NOT like sitting around the fire pit, feeling all the little creepy crawlies on my feet so it was "Goodbye grass!" and hello pavers, edging, and mulch. *Sorry in advance for the cell phone pics y'all*


First, we measured, dug a hole, leveled everything out...


...then the rains came and...unleveled things. We put gravel and sand underneath the pavers and then added new edging and mulch, along with a little half wall and a mini berm. 

Here's a crap shot I took from our sunroom windows (are they dirty? I can't tell). 


And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is an ABOVE GROUND POOL. Listen, when you live in Kansas and you don't have central AC, you do what you gotta' do. And I gotta' pool. It cost about $150 and we spent almost every.single.night. bobbing up in down in there, smelling the moonflowers, and bringing our body temperature back down to a reasonable level before going to bed. 


Sure, it makes me want to listen to High Life every time I look at it and sure it looks like a little eyesore in this photo (the grasses on the berm have grown considerably since this was taken) but man, it's a treat. 


Conan built my little boardwalk you see there out of scrap wood we had lying around and it helps keep the dirt out of the pool. 

I still want to do some type of lighting underneath the little bench edge and maybe paint or affix some fake stone to those cinder blocks but it's our little oasis and now...get this...we actually USE our backyard instead of just staring at it from the laundry room windows all summer long! 

Which is awesome because...MOONFLOWERS!! They are by far, the best part about summer in Kansas. They love the heat, don't mind the dry spells, and they smell like perfume. 


Around the same time, Conan got a wild hair (no pun intended for that wild hair pic down there lol) and decided he was sick of our basement being a totally messy, unusable space so he cleaned the whole thing out, drylocked the walls, and built work benches and shelves. There's even a little spot for the mini fridge! (Oh, and Shorty "helped"). 


Next up, we headed to Estes Park for our 7th summer of hiking until it hurts. Or, as we call it, ~a very relaxing vacation~ lol. 

Here's Conan on our descent from Mt. Chiquita 


It was pretty hazy this year which was a bummer for summits but it did make for some incredible, sort of Great Smoky Mountain-style sunsets. Here's Conan in Moraine Park, near our campsite. 


The rest of the summer and most of the fall was devoted to Lamphouse and all that photobooth-ery but we did manage to make it to our friend's wedding in Philadelphia and have a 16 hour whirlwind tour of New York as well. 


We left Wichita and drove to Kansas City at 3 am and when we arrived at Newark, we immediately just went to Penn Station and started walking. The whole day was incredible but also like a weird, half-asleep, half-awake dream. 


We walked from Penn Station to the Freedom Tower then across the Brooklyn Bridge and then trained it back to Newark. Phew! 

Philly was beautiful. So much history and neat buildings. We pretty much had the same game plan as New York outside of the wedding-y stuff: walk and walk and walk and walk. 


On our last afternoon, we walked down to Independence Seaport Museum and blew Conan's tiny, boyhood mind but WALKING AROUND IN A SUBMARINE! If you look closely, you can see him actually losing it : D 


For Conan's 35th birthday in February, we went out to Estes Park with our Philly friends for a two day run around RMNP. It was so neat to finally see what the park looks like in winter after seeing it in only the summer for so many years. 


The past couple of months have been spent getting back to photo booth stuff. We took the "Lampy" camper out for a run of photos last month. It's the first time she's left the driveway in a couple of years and she handled it like a champ. You can see all of the portraits we took and developed here on our Facebook page. 


And last but certainly not least, we added another Birdie Booth to our fleet! Now we officially have two indoor photo booths, the Grand Wagoneer Photo Booth, and ~occasionally~ the Lampy camper.

Here's Birdie #2 in our dining room this past Saturday before her first event <3



I think that pretty much brings things up to speed. 

Just a couple of low lifes, livin' the high life
travelin' all over
buildin' photo booths like it's compulsory
still NO paint on the house since we started prep like, two years ago ughhhhh....

Until next time, 

Keep Smiling! 

~ Katherine


Monday, January 5, 2015

DIY Dining Room Built Ins

Long time, no see interweb-friends! We've been overwhelmingly busy with life and business and Airbnb, and Christmas and blblblulikfjslkdfj;askfj that I haven't had a minute to edit photos and post on here but believe you me, we've still been busy busy busy with house projects! 

Also, in blog news, 

KEEP SMILING TURNED 5! 

Woo-hoo! Five years of barely knowing what the H E double hockey sticks we're doing and we've still got all of our fingers to show for it! Success!

So, one of our busy house projects over the past couple of months has been making over the dining room. It all started wen Conan's dad gave us a pair of particle board shelves. The rest, is history! 


DIY Built In Shelves


For the most part, the dining room has always been what I'll call "done enough". We painted it a shade of very light gray before the wedding and painted the doors black:

Before Dining Room


and since then I've acquired 8 thrift store chairs and re-finished our free table but it's still just...okay. 


But the recent acquisition of a BIG OL' pile of books from Conan's late mother as well as the shelves some of them sat on motivated me to get to work, making this room more than just an empty room with a table in it.


My idea was this: 
Put these particle board shelves Conan's dad gifted us on either side of the dining room windows a la the Living Room built ins. 


With my mom's help, I moved them into the dining room to see what we were working with. 

DIY Built In Shelves Particle Board

You can see from the one on the right that they were tall but not tall enough. They need to be lifted so they at least cleared the top of the windows. The one on the left is sitting on a pile of wood to simulate what we were going for. 


To get a permanent solution to the height problem, we cut some pieces of wood and notched out a place for the base shoe so they could fit snugly up against the baseboard and the wall. 


DIY Built In Shelves Raised

Here it is, floating magically in mid air! JK, it's actually sitting on the baseboard on the left side and we notched the back of the shelf to go around the window sill. That provided a surprising amount of staying power while we were finishing the box. 

DIY Built In Shelves Lifted

You can see that the side is sitting on top of the baseboard. That allowed it to fit back in the corner once we notched a space for the window sill to fit in on the backside of the shelf. 

Here it is all screwed together. 

DIY Built Ins Raised

Step two was to trim these guys out. This step would hopefully take them from clearly cheap shelves to built-in-esque. 

Here's the top of the shelf before: 


Particle Board Built Ins

And after trim: 

DIY Built Ins Crown Moulding

The top is a sheet of plywood with some leftover 1" strips we had from the Birdie Booth around the outside edge. We used 4" crown moulding under that and under it was a piece of 1x8 that the shelf was notched around. 

Speaking of those strips, they came in real handy again when we decided that the rounded front edges of the shelves were a dead giveaway for not built-in. Here's a close-up "after" pic to give you an idea of what I mean:

Particle Board Built Ins Front


We used a brad nailer to attach the 1" strips across the front of the shelves so that, should we ever want to pull them out and re-configure them, we can.


Now for the paint. As you may know, most primer is not wont to stick to fake wood so I thought I would give chalk paint a try since I had heard so much about how well it adheres to this fake wood...fwood.


Two things about chalk paint:
It does stick to fake wood really well
It does not cover fake wood very well. At least not when you're trying to cover it with white. 

Chalk Paint Built Ins


The above photo is after two of the small containers of chalk paint. Not great, right?

Like I mentioned, it does stick really well to the fake wood and it actually goes pretty far but it was still leaving streaks and I still had the shelves to prime so when I ran out of the little can I was using, I decided to make my own. Pinterest to the rescue! Turns out, if you use 1 Tbsp. of white, unsanded grout (which I have a lot leftover from the downstairs bathroom) and a cup of white paint, you're good to go. 
So, if you're looking for a REALLY serious primer for some fake wood, just make it yourself! 


I decided that I would just use the chalk paint as primer and cover it with the same trim paint that I had used for the other trim in the room. 
Here's after one coat of latex paint over the two coats of chalk paint/primer.

DIY Built Ins Chalk Paint


And here are the shelves from the front after two coats of latex paint. (the shelves were being primed on the back porch). 


DIY Dining Room Built Ins


And here it is with the shelves installed and painted. 


DIY Built In Shelves Dining Room


FYI:
You can probably see that there is a giant spot on the wall/ceiling between the shelves. That was one of the other reasons this room was due for a makeover. A leaky air conditioner upstairs a couple of years ago had caused the sheetrock tape to fall off so I climbed up there, peeled it back, and mudded it.

Then, much like the "Accidental Kitchen Remodel" of yore, one thing led to another and the room was getting crown molding and paint.

We used the same molding from the top of the shelves (4") and we settled on a darker, warmer gray for the color of the walls: Olympic Stormy Weather.

My mom and dad very kindly put the crown molding up as my Christmas present this year and I loff it more than anything. As my mom says, every time we finish a room it's "my new favorite!"


So let's see the official "before and after" shall we?


Cheap Built Ins DIY


And now, for fun, just the after:

Olympic Stormy Weather

And from straight on:

Dining Room Built Ins


Also, you might have noticed the curtains and rod. The rod was just an old piece of conduit we had in the basement. Conan cut it down with a hacksaw, we spray painted it ORB (natch) and hung it with hardware from Lowe's. 


So there you have it, folks! Surprise dining room makeover complete! It really feels like a much more comfortable, cozy room now and we've already used it a lot this holiday season.

I have a couple more things to do, maybe a rug, hang Conan's paintings instead of just leaning them, and eventually FIND A BUFFET! But, for now it's perfect just the way it is.


Thanks for reading!

Keep Smiling

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Exterior Painting Prep, Guest Room Complete, and ANOTHER Photo Booth

Ahoy, hoy internet friends! It's been about a minute (thousands of minutes, actually) since we've graced this blog with our presence. Truth is, we've been BEYOND busy with house-related things and non-house related things. I'll just dive right in because, I feel like, if I draft one more post, blogger is going to send me a letter. Like, 

Dear nice lady,
Please stop clogging the internet tubes with drafts you never intend to publish. It is slowing down the informations.
Your friend, Google McYahoo. 

So, 

I'll start with the non-house related stuff because it's at the top of my mind.
ALL OF THE TIME. 

We added a photo booth to the fleet. Yup. We just can't.stop.putting.photobooths.in.things.

This one doesn't have wheels, thank the lord! We call it the Birdie Booth and Conan made it with his own two hands! What a guy!

Handmade Wood Photo Booth

It's basically the same equipment as the Grand Wagoneer photo booth but in a MUCH smaller package so we can get in on that sweet, sweet, wedding reception photo booth market here in Wichita. But, the Jeep is still around and speaking of which, I made a lil' video of it in action a few months back: 

Also, the little camper photo booth that could is still kicking, though mostly for promotional stuff and our own private, picture fun times. She did get a new, DIY marquee sign, though. Cute with a capital C, huh? 
Vintage camper photo booth sign


So, that's why we've been swamped. That and the fact that we FINALLY started renting out the guest room on Airbnb. We currently have a tenant staying with us for a month! Turns out, that's the majority of our requests - long term stays. Go figure! People don't want to stay in Wichita longer than a month. That should be our new city slogan: More than a day, less than a lifetime ~ Wichita!~

So, if you even remember, here's what the guest room looked like originally:


Lovely.

Then it got a little better with the addition of the antique bed I fixed up...

Guest Room Antique Bed

And finally, here's the ready-to-rent version!

Small Guest Room Antique Bed

New rug, new sheets, new bedspread, old everything else.

Guest Room Blue Bedding

It's quite a bit cozier and comfier now - Conan jokes that it's actually nicer than our master bedroom, which may be true but you know I've got plans for that...

Speaking of plans. We STILL have plans to paint the exterior of the house in the next year. We actually got a pretty decent start on it thanks to mom and dad of the century, Connie and Dave. Unfortunately, with the Lamphouse stuff and the whole, having someone stay with us for a month, it's taken a backseat. 

Before it got demoted to the bottom of the "to-do list from hell", here's a look at what we accomplished. 

 What seems like forever ago, my mom and I managed to scrape a good deal of paint off the porch railings and windows.

Scraping Porch Rail for Exterior Paint



Scraping Exterior Window to Paint

The porch isn't actually in awful shape - that's why we started there. But, the paint was practically falling off of the railings and the porch floor so it has to go. My mom touched up the glazing on the windows there (after this picture was taken) and hit the trim with this neat, paint feathering tool that works pretty okay for smoothing out bumpy paint that's not necessarily coming off.

Old House Soffitt Rebuilt

A BIG project that already makes the house looks a million times better is replacing the fascia board and soffit on the first floor roof. My amazing, awesome, beautiful, perfect parents did all of that pretty much while we were at an event with the Jeep. Man, I know we're lucky but...DANG.

It's since been primed and the cruddy job the old roofers did on the bit between the fascia and the shingles has been all fixed up.

Rebuild Old House Soffitt

It's waiting for me to get off my duff and put some trim paint on it. I'm going to do my best to make use of this unseasonably warm weather and hop up there in the next couple of weeks.

Until then, and until I have another spare minute (lol, never),

Keep Smiling!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Radiator Sludge Removal & Floor Repair

I mentioned a couple of posts ago about those radiator pipes  in the guest room.

Old Radiator Pipes Removal

About a foot away from the bed, perfectly hidden behind the curtains, prime toe smashing territory, folks.

If you've been reading for a long time, you might remember us mentioning the heating ordeal with this house and why we got rid of the radiators in the first place. If not, here's the cliff's notes:
foreclosed property
vacant a couple of years
radiators froze and burst in that time
poor, young dummies buy house, discover lack of heat
love can keep us warm, etc., etc.
no it can't
get central heat installed
start removing some radiators where space is a commodity (i.e. guest bedroom, living room)

So, yeah! Conan and his dad removed the boiler and the rusting pipes that were accessible from the basement.

Radiator Pipes Removal

Then my mom and I took a few of the radiators (like this one in the living room) apart and removed them.

Radiator Removal Tools

It wasn't all that difficult to remove but unfortunately, on the second floor where we can't get to them from underneath, there were still these lovely pipes sticking up out of the floor...

Radiator Pipes Removal

and a heavily damaged floor underneath where the radiator had sat.

Radiator Floor Stain Repair

 Well, while I was at work a couple of weekends ago, my handy dad cut them off at the floor and CAREFULLY lowered what was left of the pipe down into the floor! Toe smashers be gone! 

I hit the area with a belt sander (the same one we used to re-finish the kitchen floor) and that pretty much took care of the ugly black spot that was there. 

Floor Stain Repair with Belt Sander

I put a single coat of poly-shades on there and um...it wasn't a perfect match color-wise so I hit it with the belt sander one more time and tried just plain polyurethane on the spot at Conan's suggestion.

Floor Stain Repair After

Is it perfect? No. Is it an improvement? Heck yes. I'm glad to know that it's as easy and simple as it was so that I might be inclined to do this in the living room someday and make a better match. It would also be easier to plug the holes since we can do it from the basement underneath.

Floor Stain Repair After

I had planned on buying a runner to put there anyway to cover up the holes until we can devise some sort of plug/peg solution and after shopping around I found one at Target that spoke to me. Well, Cartwheel spoke to me and it sounded like, "Katherine, this particular rug is 25% off so maybe you like it a lot, yeah?"

Flower Runner Rug

It really ties the room together, man.

So, that worked out pretty well I think. Well enough that I feel comfortable trying it down in the living room.
As you can see from this photo, I picked out a real, grown-up bedspread. It's kind of a blue-ish gray in person and it looks really nice with the ship painting above the bed.

Just a few more little things here and there and I'm calling it done. In the meantime, we gave the front porch a good cleaning the other day and my parents may have tracked us down some affordable (i.e. borrowable/free) scaffolding so the exterior of the house might get a little attention before the fall. Our neighbor saw us outside cleaning and said he was going to start painting his house this weekend. My mom asked him how long he thought it would take and he said, "Few days."
A FEW DAYS.
He asked us how long we thought ours would take and we laughed like two crazy people and said,
"A year? Maybe more?"

Here's to realistic expectations!

Have a great week, everybody! 
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